Caleb's Posse works for Southwest
Caleb's Posse notched his second career stakes win on a foggy Hot Springs afternoon
(Sunny Taylor/Coady Photography)
CALEB'S POSSE (Posse), winner of the Smarty Jones S. on January 17,
smoothly returned to work Saturday morning at Oaklawn Park under ideal
weather conditions, posting a quick five-furlong breeze over the fast
track in preparation
for the $250,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) on February 21.
With jockey Eddie Razo Jr. aboard, Caleb's Posse posted a time of
1:01 -- co-fastest of 31 horses at that distance -- for trainer Donnie
Von Hemel. Interestingly, the other horse to go in 1:01 was Billy Two
Hats (Aragorn [Ire]), a maiden three-year-old who worked from the gate
for Donnie's father Don Von Hemel.
"He's come back excellent from his race," said Razo, Oaklawn's 2008
leading rider was aboard for Caleb's Posse's 2 3/4-length victory in the
Smarty Jones. "He is really on the muscle. I worked him before and he
was more laid back. Today he was really handy and I felt like I might
have gone a little quicker than I liked, but I didn't want to take
anything from him."
Von Hemel had no concerns about Razo's handling and declared himself
pleased with the move.
"He looked like he clicked each eighth in 12 (seconds) and a tick,"
Von Hemel said. "It's hard to clock from the pony, but I'm happy with
the way he did it. He hadn't worked in two weeks. That's probably what
Eddie was feeling, but it was A-OK in my book.”
The Southwest is step 2 on the path leading top three-year-olds to
the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 16 and the dreamed-of trip
to the Kentucky Derby (G1). Von Hemel has been guarded regarding Caleb's
Posse's chances as the races get longer, but his colt has shown him
encouraging signs and he says he hasn't had to alter his training style
trying to condition the horse for those tests.
"Fortunately with him, we don't have to do anything with his workouts
or how far we work him," he said. "He's shown us he can settle in the
middle parts of his races and that's the most important thing in races
Von Hemel could potentially have another Southwest starter in
ALTERNATION (Distorted Humor). The winner of a high-powered allowance
race January 16. he breezed five furlongs Thursday in 1:03.
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